Wednesday, December 17, 2014


I have been happily grooming dogs and cats for 30 years now. It is a vocation I cherish, but I have to admit, sometimes I wonder. I wonder why it is this job I was clearly put on earth to do. I look around me, at people I admire. My sister the librarian who has fired a love of reading in the minds of thousands of children. My other sister, a teacher, who gives the gift of loving to learn to small children. I think of doctors who cure the sick and scientists who discover things to improve the lives of humans everywhere. Lawyers who find justice. Farmers who feed the world. I admire veterinarians more than words can say. So why, why, was I given the drive and desire to groom dogs? In the greater scheme of things, my work does not seem very important. I joke that God gives everyone certain gifts. Some are brilliant at business, some are skilled artists... but me, he gave me the ability to scrub dog and cat butts.

I will probably never know just why I am programmed to do the work I do, but I know two things. I know I am glad of it. And I know that I have been blessed more than I can ever say by the relationships I have developed with the owners of the pets I groom. This was brought home to me today with great clarity when I received a phone call from a dear lady I met around 11 years ago when I first moved to Maine. I liked her instantly and as I got to know her over the years I liked her more and more. I pet sat her sweet little dog many times while she traveled. A friendship that I treasure developed. Her dog recently went to the rainbow bridge, and I miss her. I also miss my friend. It was a joy to me that she called today, and we had a happy chat.

And this got me to remembering all the wonderful souls I have met because I groomed their dog or cat. People who still send me cards and emails and gifts 12 or more years since I have seen them last. People who populate my memories with colorful, joyous thoughts. All because I was given the gift of loving to groom pets.

Sometimes I remember just how blessed I really am.

Sunday, December 14, 2014


Poppy the Pug has been a completely wonderful little friend for 14 long, happy years. I never meant to have a Pug. I agreed to foster her when her owners took her to a shelter at 5 or 6 weeks of age. They wanted a Boxer, instead. My plan was to find her a wonderful home.

To be honest, she was the homeliest little puppy I had ever seen. But after about 3 days I found myself telling her, "Oh, you are SO beautiful!" Despite her wrinkled face and non-regulation un-curled tail, a sweet spirit emanated forth from her 2 pound body. In no time she had us all under her spell. And the home she found was in my heart.

She has been loved by all the other dogs we shared our hearts and home with over the years. Except Ziva, who has little use for her. Poppy and Flirt are special friends. They snuggle together, and when Flirt had her pups Poppy laid close against her, spine to spine, while Flirt labored.

She's been a sturdy, healthy little dog all this time. Other than surgery to enlarge her nostrils when she was a pup, an infected salivary gland and spay surgery, she's only ever seen the vet for routine shots. Even now she is sleek and shiny and has a sparkle to her eyes.

But Poppy is what Chris likes to call "Wore out!" She has not been able to manage stairs for years, and now is having trouble walking on flat surfaces much of the time. Although she is on heavy duty pain medication for arthritis, she is beginning to have more bad days than good.

I wish with all my might that she might go to sleep and not wake up snuggled in front of the wood stove or even sleeping next to me as she has most every night for all these years. But I will most likely have to choose to have our veterinarian come here and ease her to that final rest. And that is a decision I dread.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Life's a kick..!

We have not had a new baby in our family since I gave birth to Rachel, 25 years ago! That is a long, long baby-less time.

Sunday we gathered for a big, happy, family baby shower. My beautiful, smart, talented niece Emily and her kind and gentle husband Jeff are expecting a daughter in January. And to say we are excited is a gross understatement.

After the food and the cake and the wine, after the chatting and catching up and laughing, after opening the presents and oohing and ahhing at tiny socks and hand knit blankets and booties and lovingly sewn baby quilts, after the guests had left, Emily gathered some of us together to feel the baby kick.

The baby performed on cue. And we women, gathered around the magic of new life, celebrated with joyful laughing as we felt her swim and dance beneath our loving hands.

There is magic all around us, but nothing more magical than the promise of a wee new babe to love.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Help or hindrance..?

Today I schlepped a bag of shavings out to the pony shed after I had cleaned it out. Normally I carry a knife in my pocket or start a hole in the bag before I leave the garage where it is stored. The shavings are compressed into a rather thick plastic bag and it is tricky to open without a sharp tool. Today I had no knife and forgot to start a hole before I got out to the shed.

Just as I was pondering how best to get a hole started one of the young bucklings that are visiting to breed with the does took the project on. He butted the bag with his sharp little horns and gave his head a shake. Back up, repeat, over and over, until the bag was in tatters. I stood back and admired his work.

Then I used all those holes to my advantage, opened the bag, deposited the shavings on the floor and went about my business.

Little boy goats with horns present a myriad of challenges to live with, but they do come in handy from time to time!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Thanksgiving 2014...

There were regular old decorations...

And the kind that happen when a feather mixes it up with a spider web and then gets kissed by a Nor'easter.

We got a lot of wet, heavy snow. BUT, the power stayed on and the food was cooked, and everyone made it here, despite the road conditions.

It was a laughter-filled holiday. This old house echoed with the joyous sound of everything from giggles to guffaws.

You could feel the love!

The food was plentiful and tasted good, and niece Elyse did not disappoint,curling up on the couch for her traditional post turkey siesta...

People came back today for leftovers and more visiting. The tradition of decorating gingerbread houses was modified but continued...

The refrigerator is full of leftovers and my heart is full of happiness. It was a lovely Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thanksgiving eve...

The day started out rather warm(mid 30's) and the animals were happy to be out in the meadow. Early afternoon the predicted snow began and they tucked themselves into shelter. We were as ready as we could be. All the animal houses were freshly cleaned and filled with sweet smelling bedding, food supplies for them plentiful, gallons of water put up in case we lose power.

The sky became dark and the snow came down fast and heavy. Power outages are predicted, which is troublesome because I am in the midst of preparing the Thanksgiving feast. I am hoping for the best. Meanwhile the storm is lovely!

Inside the fire crackled in the wood stove and the house was filled with the once-a-year scents of Thanksgiving. I baked three loaves of wheat bread, a cast iron pan full of corn bread for dressing, a heaping pan of fragrant sweet potatoes for a huge, sweet casserole.

This year, beautiful Rachel was all-in helping me. We baked moist rum cake and succulent chocolate nemesis cake. We made my beloved brother-in-law Nevada's incredible corn bread dressing, and a new recipe for bread stuffing. We made goat cheese which we will turn into garlic dip, and a bowl of spinach dip.

Rachel is peeling a mountain of potatoes so we can mash them, and tomorrow I will prepare a new squash recipe, with balsamic vinegar, roasted pumpkin seeds and fresh mint.

Family will begin to arrive mid morning. The turkeys will be cooking, (one in the outdoor smoker and one tucked into the oven under a buttered blanket of cheesecloth.) Everyone will bring an addition to the feast... cranberry sauce, squash and pumpkin and German chocolate pie, cranberry bread and pumpkin nut bread and spicy fresh salsa. If the weather cooperates the house will be full. And I will be thankful.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

With friends...

Last night we attended...

Thanksgiving with Friends was put on by customers-turned-friends. It has been a tradition for them for many years, and there were attendees from all over the country and Canada. We were honored to be included.

The house was beautifully decorated.

And the food was incredible!

It was a lovely time with nice people... and a terrific appetizer for the upcoming holiday we will host here.